You know, people often concentrate on the horrible things that happen during a year. It reminds me of a speech by Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings when he tells Frodo that there’s good in this world and it’s worth fighting for.
That’s why for my top 2018 list I’m going to list the good things that happened this year, the times that humanity showed its decent side. Thing is, this happens a lot more than people think, and we should acknowledge these deeds more often.
Rodney Smith Travels to All the States to Mow Lawns
Rodney Smith is a man on a mission. The Bermuda native is in the midst of a trip that will take him to every state in the nation, mowing lawns for the elderly, disabled, single moms and veterans free of charge. Again.
Smith was pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science at the historically black Alabama A&M University in 2016 when he came across a senior man mowing his lawn. After stopping to help the man finish the chore, Smith said his life took on a new path.
“When I came across the elderly man, my life changed,” the 28-year-old told HuffPost. “I remember a few years before that, I had a one-on-one conversation with God. I asked him to use me as his vessel, and it didn’t happen at that moment. I believe it happened when I came across the elderly man outside mowing his lawn.”
After this chance encounter, Smith went on to create the Raising Men Lawn Care Service (RMLCS), based in Huntsville, Alabama. As part of providing free yard maintenance work, the organization mentors children, teaching them about serving their communities and lawn mower safety.
Meet Kayden. He heard about me being the undefeated bubble mower race champ and wanted to take the crown. I’ll post the video. Do you think Kayden took the W or do you think I’m undefeated still pic.twitter.com/nFV8gue88N
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) December 27, 2018
I had the pleasure of doing the lawn for Peyton and his mom. Great meeting them both . Making a difference one lawn at a time pic.twitter.com/o61o3A92R8
— Rodney Smith Jr (@iamrodneysmith) December 26, 2018
Walmart Employee Gives Disabled Woman Manicure
Back in August, a nail salon in Walmart turned away Angela Peters, who has cerebral palsy, after she requested a manicure. That’s when two Walmart employees stepped in. From CBS News:
Employee Ebony Harris recognized Peters from her previous trips to the store. “Found out what happened and I just asked her, ‘Do you want me to do your nails?’ And she just started smiling and said yeah,” Harris said.
Harris sat Peters down to do her nails and Tasia Smith, who works inside the Walmart’s Subway, took photos the private manicure session. Smith posted photos on Facebook, and the heartwarming story went viral. “Out of the kindness of the Walmart workers’ hearts they went and bought nail polish and came into my work to paint this sweet girl’s nails,” Smith said in the post. The photos show Peters sitting at a small table for two as Harris paints her nails blue.
The Walmart employees are hoping the random act of kindness will spread a positive message. “If you see someone that’s going through something and they need help, help them,” Smith said.
Peters told WNEM-TV the nail salon denied her service “because they said I moved too much,” and Smith’s Facebook post stated the same. However, Tanya Tran, a Da-Vi Nails headquarters representative, said she does not believe Peters was turned away because she moves too much or because she has a disability. Tran said it was simply a time crunch.
“Angela [Peters] said she only had one hour to get her manicure done. … They said all the floor technicians — there were only 5 working but one was off — four were working on customers,” Train said. “She was told they didn’t think it could be done in one hour. … They clearly stated that they weren’t refusing the service.”
Teenage Pizzeria Employee Delivers Pizza to Man With Terminal Cancer
Richard and Julie Morgan resided in Battle Creek, MI, for 25 years, but now live in Indianapolis, IN. They both loved Steve’s Pizza in their hometown. Julie said Richard would often say other pizzas weren’t as good as Steve’s.
They planned to take a trip back home for Julie’s birthday, but Richard ended up in ICU and doctors told him he didn’t have much longer to live.
Julie’s father David Dalke asked Steve’s Pizza if the place could send a message to Richard to help him feel better. Dalton Shaffer, 18, decided to do more than that. From Today:
“I happened to be the pizza-maker that night and happened to answer the phone later in the evening,” Shaffer, 18, told TODAY Food. “On the other end of the line was Dave, Julie’s dad. He was telling me about what was going on with his family. He told me that his son-in-law had been sent home to die.”
Dalke asked if Shaffer could send his condolences in a card or text to the Morgans on behalf of the pizzeria that’s always held such a special place in their hearts.
Instead, Shaffer asked what toppings they preferred. Knowing they lived over 3 hours away in Indianapolis, Shaffer promised to make the delivery that night after he closed the store at 10 p.m.
“I really didn’t think twice about it. It was a spontaneous reaction from me I guess,” Shaffer told TODAY Food. “When I rolled into the driveway at about 2:30, 2:40, the family was waiting up for me. The dad was there, and he came out and he gave me a hug.”
Shaffer handed over two, slightly cold pies and, after politely declining Dalke’s offer to put him up at a hotel, drove another 230 miles back home to make it in time for a morning shift at the farm where he’s worked for five years. He’s worked at Steve’s Pizza for two years.
When asked whether he had done anything like this before, Schaffer was too humble to answer. But his mother, Michelle Shaffer, told TODAY Food he’s always had “a heart of gold,” from mowing neighbors’ lawns to helping the elderly and homeless in his hometown.
“I just would like anybody reading or whatever to just think of the family,” the teenage pizzeria employee told TODAY. “Ya know, pray for them. They’re going to be going through a hard time.”
Elderly Man Visits Shelter to Nap With Cats
As a proud crazy cat lady, this story made me so happy! In Green Bay, WI, Terry Lauerman, 75, visits Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary every single day. He will brush the cats and fall asleep with them. When he wakes he switches cats and does it all over again.
When the shelter posted about Terry on FB the story took off:
Young Boy Stops Traffic to Help Elderly Woman
In Georgia, 8-year-old Maurice Adams, Jr., halted traffic when he saw an elderly woman struggling to walk up her steps. From WGXA:
Adams asked his mother if he could jump out of the car to help the woman, and added, “she never saw a kid helping an older lady up the stairs or helping an older lady doing something.”
The encounter lasted less than a minute, but the boy has no problem letting the woman pause at each step and helps lift her walker with his hand on her back.
The boy didn’t know it at the time, but a stranger was filming the whole thing. The stranger, Riley Duncan, later posted the video to Facebook with the caption, “Thank God for our youth.”
“I’m like, ‘Wow, he jumped out to help that elderly lady.’ I was so proud and it made me feel so good and I started crying. With tears I started recording and it was just so amazing,” said Duncan.
What made Adams want to do this act of kindness for someone else?
“She was struggling, so I decided to help her,” he said.
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